What Seemed Like Asthma Was Much More Serious
Your support helps patients like Colette Kramer overcome conditions that have plagued them for years and stumped other doctors.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner and an instructor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Colette was well equipped to deal with her diabetes, asthma, and immune deficiencies. She was active, energetic, and outgoing. But then, Colette's asthma got worse. She began to develop serious infections.
Specialists prescribed higher and higher doses of steroids, but nothing helped. She was hospitalized several times and had to quit her job.
"I don't know what else to do," her doctor admitted. "Why don't you go to National Jewish Health?"
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, National Jewish Health is the nation's leading respiratory hospital. Our world-leading researchers and doctors routinely crack even the toughest cases.
One of those doctors is David Beuther, MD. He met with Colette for over an hour. He attempted a bronchoscopy, a diagnostic procedure in which a tiny camera is inserted into the airway. However, Colette's throat was so constricted, the bronchoscopy was impossible. But that was the clue Dr. Beuther needed to diagnose Colette's underlying problem: not asthma, but tracheobronchomalacia—a condition in which the cartilage of the throat is too weak to keep the airway open. Not only was Colette's own throat blocking her breathing and creating asthma-like symptoms, it was also trapping infections, leading to her repeated hospitalizations.
"Within 10 minutes, I was talking to Dr. Ali Musani," Colette recalls. An expert in minimally-invasive procedures, Dr. Musani put a temporary stent in Colette's airway, allowing her to breathe more freely than she had in years.
Not long afterwards, a third National Jewish Health expert, David Mitchell, MD, repaired Colette's airway.
Today, Colette is happy and active again. "I can walk two miles a day," she reports. "I'm out of the vicious cycle that so affected my life."
"Dr. Beuther left no stone unturned in seeking an answer to my problem," she continues. "All the doctors, nurses, and technicians at National Jewish Health pay incredible attention to detail.
"I've worked in nursing since the 1980s," Colette says. "The care at National Jewish Health is how medicine ought to be."
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